Trial begins for suspect in Seattle shooting that left one dead, six hurt

Marquise Tolbert is one of three defendants accused of taking part in a gun battle in downtown Seattle.

SEATTLE — Thursday marked day one of the trial against Marquise Tolbert. Tolbert is one of three defendants accused of taking part in a gun battle in downtown Seattle that left one person dead, and six others hurt.

It happened on January 22, 2020. The chaos that unfolded near the corner of Third Avenue and Pine Street was captured from several angles. Surveillance cameras were rolling as a deadly gun battle sent people scrambling.

Prosecuting Attorney Brandy Gevers says prior to the gun fight, it all started with a Facebook post.

“Mr. Jackson disrespected Lewis Hamilton by making fun of his name and his gang,” said Gevers.

According to Gevers, that post by Jamel Jackson led Marquise Tolbert and William Tolliver to retaliate for disrespecting one of their friends.

“The three men exchanged words,” said Gevers.

Tolbert’s attorney, Emily Gause, says Jackson was the first to draw his gun and Tolliver was the first to shoot.

“Marquise Tolbert was not the first to shoot. He wasn’t the second to shoot. And when he did so it was only because he was trying to save his life,” said Gause.

Gause says the gunfire lasted six seconds.

At least 24 rounds were fired, according to Gevers.

“Mr. Tolbert and Mr. Tolliver ran down the street firing blindly into that sidewalk of innocent bystanders,” said Gevers.

Gevers says Tolbert and Tolliver ran off, went to Las Vegas, and even posed for pictures. Police caught up with them, and they were arrested on February 1, 2020.

Gevers said to jurors, “the state is confident that you will find Mr. Tolbert guilty.”

But Tolbert’s attorney claims the video shows the state’s theory does not hold up.

“He did not know if he would live or die. He ran for his life that day,” said Gause referring to his client.

Tanya Jackson was just walking downtown when she was killed in the gunfire. A 9-year-old boy was among the six people hurt during the shooting. Some of the shooting victims are on the list of witnesses that jurors will hear from during the trial.